What Are the Various Scrap Metal Types?

Recycling scrap metal can be tricky, sometimes especially for beginners in the industry. There are different scrap metal grades, classifications, and metal types. Although they may sound irrelevant, you shouldn’t ignore the type of metal you are dealing with.

Having adequate knowledge of the classification of scrap metal will set you up for success whether you are simply looking to recycle scrap metal for profit or you are using recycled scrap metal to build a structure.

Scrap metal is commonly regarded as waste, but it is still a well-known commodity and valuable product. However, before you begin to recycle the scrap metal, understanding the different classifications is very important.

All metals are classified into:

  • Ferrous
  • Non-Ferrous

Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals are the most commonly recycled metal types. According to research, the United States processes enough ferrous metal daily by weight, to build 25 Eiffel Towers each day of the year, which means that it is an abundant supply of metals.

The simplest way to distinguish ferrous metals from non-ferrous metals is that all ferrous metals are magnetic. The reason why this is the case is that ferrous metals are either steel or iron or at least contain it.

Cast iron skillets, cars, ovens, and refrigerators are just some of the common items made of ferrous metals.

Ferrous metals also contain a high carbon content, and that’s why they tend to corrode faster.

Non-Ferrous Metals

Non-ferrous metals do not contain any form of magnetic elements and more resistant to corrosion when compared to ferrous metals. These metals are commonly used in building and construction applications such as pipes, roofing, gutters, and electrical.

Non-ferrous metals include tin, brass, zinc, lead, nickel, and gold, just to mention a few. Common properties of non-ferrous metals are that they are lightweight and malleable, and these properties are what makes them suited for aircraft construction.

Scrap Metal Types

If you get down to the detailed and in-depth classifications, there are various types of metal. Once you know the different scrap metal types that you are working with, it will be easier to know exactly what you want to achieve with it and where it is usually found.


It is one of the most often recycled scrap metals. Aluminium can be found in food wrap foils, soda cans, storm windows and screen door frames.


It is a metal that’s commonly found around the home. Brass can be found in places such as brass-plated crockery, doorknobs, as well as old bed frames.


Carbide can be found in the drill bits or tool bits for those that have many tools.


It is the third most commonly used metal in manufacturing and construction. Copper is a highly sought after and valuable metal.


Household items such as lawnmowers, cast-iron pots, iron railings, or even swings in your backyard are acceptable as scrap metal. A lot of outdoor furniture is also usually made of iron.


Lead mining requires high energy, and that’s the reason why manufacturers prefer to buy recycled lead because it saves both time and money. Lead is extremely poisonous so ensure that you protect yourself and your surroundings whenever you handle it.


It is used in almost everything from airplanes to jewelry, which is why it is so valuable. When you have such a versatile metal, it can be used on several different projects. It is also resistant to corrosion and highly durable.

Recycling Scrap Metal

Gulf coast scraps metal purchases, processes, and sells all types and classifications of scrap metal. The main advantage associated with recycling scrap metal apart from taking it off your hands is that it ensures that it never ends up in landfills, which is safe for the environment.

Buying recycled scrap metal helps manufacturers save money and time since they don’t have to spend resources and money getting new materials.

If you recycle your scrap metal, you can make additional profit, save manufacturers money, all while ensuring that everyone else has a cleaner and healthier environment.

Looking for a reliable recycling company in Houston, TX.

Contact Gulf Coast Scrap Metal today!